Sulley Muntari carded for protesting racism, walks off pitch in disgust

Racist fan chants began in first half

Sulley Muntari of Pescara walked off the field when a referee penalized him for complaining about racially charged insults coming from Cagliari fans. According to Muntari, the chants began in the first half, although they died down after Muntari interacted with a child who was involved. In the 89th minute, Muntari told referee Daniele Minelli to stop the match because the insults were beginning again, but Minelli opted to instead give Muntari a yellow card for dissent. So, in protest, Muntari walked off Stadio Sant’Elia’s field. The Ghanaian midfielder shouted to the fans as he walked off, “This is my color!” Pescara ended up playing stoppage time with only ten men as they lost to Cagliari one goal to nil.

After the game, Muntari expressed his frustration with the referee’s passive approach: “The referee should not just stay on the field and blow the whistle, he must do everything. He should be aware of these things and set an example.” According to Pescara manager Zdenek Zeman, the referee told him that he had not heard any such insults. As for Muntari’s actions, Zeman did not entirely approve of the reaction. “Muntari was right, but he shouldn’t have left the pitch. It’s not up to us to dole out justice. We can talk a lot about it but then it must be left with the powers that be.” Zeman was hopeful that this wouldn’t happen, saying, “we hope that mentalities will change.”

A similar situation happened when Muntari was on AC Milan in 2013. During a match against Pro Patria, Muntari’s teammate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch when racist chants became audible from a section of the crowd. At the time, even FIFA failed to approve of Boateng’s reaction, although they did applaud his principles and later approved of punishment enacted upon Pro Patria for their fans’ behavior.

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